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Jefferson Davis, American

by William J. Cooper

  • ISBN: 9780375725425
  • ISBN10: 0375725423

Jefferson Davis, American

by William J. Cooper

  • List Price: $24.00
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Random House Inc
  • Publish date: 11/01/2001
  • ISBN: 9780375725425
  • ISBN10: 0375725423
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Description: Based on the massive archival record left by Davis, his family, and associates, William Cooper's biography presents a complex man whose eventful life spanned much of the 19th century. Cooper reveals Davis to be a man who gloried in the progress resulting from westward expansion and economic growth of the country but was steadfastly committed to states' rights and a strict interpretation of the Constitution. How this self-described "American" came to lead the struggle to destroy the United States is a major theme of the book.

For Davis the Confederacy seemed the only way to preserve the heritage of the American Revolution, the legacy of liberty handed down by the Founding Fathers. Himself a wealthy plantation owner, Davis so no reason why slavery could not continue to coexist with freedom for whites. While not condoning these views, Cooper explains how Davis became so committed to his cause that his perception of commitment in others greatly influenced his judgments and actions. We see Davis and his advisers coping with having to conduct a way while they were forming a government -- creating an army, a treasury, fiscal and foreign policies, and trying to hold a centralized authority structure despite the tension surrounding states rights.

In defeat, Davis was imprisoned and became an embodiment of the Lost Cause, and for most of the rest of his life struggled to provide for the needs of his family. In the last decade of his life, though he himself lived off the charity of a friend, Davis became positive about the South's future and urged young Southerners to hold dear to their heritage but not let the past entrap them.

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